Cumbria Crack

Cumbrian brothers bring Shakespeare back to their home county

The Three Inch Fools 2018 (Photo Nick Whitworth

[T]he Three Inch Fools, a national touring company acclaimed for their fast-paced and musically driven approach to Shakespeare, will be bringing two of Shakespeare’s most renowned plays to Cumbria.

Founded by Cumbrian brothers James and Stephen Hyde in 2015, The Three Inch Fools have since performed throughout the country, from castles in Aberdeenshire to Hastings Pier, and have become known for their lively productions of some of Shakespeare’s finest plays. This year, as part of their national summer tour, they will present inventive takes on Shakespeare’s Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, using all manner of musical instruments and plenty of character-swapping!

On Saturday 4 August, The Three Inch Fools will be at Brougham Hall near Penrith, where they will present A Midsummer Night’s Dream: the much-loved comic tale of runaway lovers, beguiling potions and an unfortunate individual who gets turned into a donkey…

On the following night (Sunday 5 August), audiences in the south of the county will then be treated to a production at Muncaster Castle, where the company will change gear slightly for Hamlet: Shakespeare’s masterpiece of loss and the supernatural, poetry and revenge.

Although almost as different as it is possible for two plays by the same writer to be, the five-strong company of Fools bring both of Shakespeare’s celebrated plays vividly to life in these iconic productions. They are particularly excited to be back in Cumbria for these performances, and to be bringing one of Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies and arguably his most poetic tragedy to the county where The Three Inch Fools first began.

‘We want to show Shakespeare off to everyone,’ says Co-Founder and Director James Hyde, ‘and excite a whole new generation of Shakespeare lovers to get to know his plays in all their vibrancy. Over the years, we’ve performed in venues ranging from castles and cathedrals to bookshops and seaside piers – all the world’s a stage!’

The Three Inch Fools specialise in bringing Shakespeare to life in innovative and unexpected ways, through bold choreography and mystical sound-worlds, working with Cumbrian-born award-winning composer Stephen Hyde. Original music plays a central role in this production, cleverly helping to elevate Shakespeare’s text from the page, and to recreate the same lively atmosphere that Elizabethan audiences would have experienced.

At both Brougham Hall and Muncaster Castle, audience members are invited to arrive an hour before the performances begin, and to bring a picnic to enjoy, to add to the festival atmosphere of the performance. Come and make this a midsummer night’s dream of your own!

Hamlet runs at Brougham Hall on Saturday 4 August at 7pm. Tickets cost £14 (£10 for under 18s; £6 for under 10s) and are available from, or on-site at Brougham Hall. Gates open for picnics from 6pm.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs at Muncaster Castle on Sunday 5 August at 6pm. Tickets cost £14 (£12.50 for age 5-15, under 5s free) and include entry to the castle gardens for the day. Tickets are available from, or by contacting 01229 717614. Gates open for picnics from 5pm.

Please note: these are both outdoor performances, so warm clothing is advised!

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